Laura K. Baldwin, 40, Clearfield, pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child. She was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $300 plus costs. She must also complete 100 hours of community service. Baldwin is not permitted to provide child care services.
This case was continued from a previous sentencing court session after Clearfield County President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman questioned the plea agreement. Originally, the child’s injury was thought to be the result of shaken baby syndrome.
District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. stated that the aggravated assault charges would be difficult to prove as the police report does not support this conclusion. It states the baby fell. The baby made a full recovery, he said and the mother is satisfied with a probation sentence for Baldwin.
“This is a fair resolution,” Shaw stated.
Ammerman questioned the mother who verified she understood and agreed with the plea.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on May 5, 2011, Clearfield Borough police were called by Clearfield County Children and Youth Services to attend an interview with Baldwin, who ran a day care and was responsible for the care of a five-month-old baby who had been injured. The child had been taken by air to the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Baldwin told a Clearfield County Children and Youth Services representative and officers that she was in the kitchen making waffles for the other children in the house when she came into the living room and saw the baby on the floor fussing. Earlier when she left the room, the baby was in his car seat. Later she told them when she went into the living room she saw a 4-year-old girl holding the baby around the waist. She took the baby from the girl and held him as she finished making waffles for the other children. She said when she tried to feed the baby, his eyes rolled back into his head and the formula came back out of his mouth. She first called her husband and then the baby’s mother who went with her to the hospital.
In the affidavit is information from a hospital report that indicates the baby had suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as had signs of retinal bleeding. All of these injuries pointed to the baby being shaken and a doctor said these injuries could not have been caused by a child dropping him. Also, a shaken child would have immediately shown signs of abnormal neurological activity and not later as Baldwin claimed.
Baldwin was originally charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, endangering the welfare of children, and recklessly endangering another person.